Through the Brightening Air for wind orchestra (2017)
Written, in memory of composer Steven Stucky, for Mark Scattrday and the Eastman Wind Ensemble, who premiered the work in Kodak Hall of the Eastman Theater in Rochester, New York, on December 1st, 2017.
Concerto for Viola and Percussion for solo viola and percussion quartet (2005)
Composed for violist John Graham, who gave the first performances of the work in 2006 at the Eastman School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival. Recorded by John Graham and the McCormick Percussion Group, Robert McCormick, director, on the Ravello label in 2009. 18 minutes, ACE
"David Liptak's 'Concerto for Viola and Four Percussion' turned out to be contemporary music at its level best: It was original and adventurous, but it wore these attributes lightly and unselfconsciously. The piece used xylophone, gong, chimes, snare drum and an array of other instruments that seemingly left no percussion sound unexplored. It was, in effect, a sparkiling work that included some of the most ardent viola writing imaginable." -John Pitcher, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 4/19/06
Serenade for solo alto saxophone and string orchestra (2001)
1. A Backward Glance 2. Sankt Hans Fire 3. A Midsummer's Night Fairy Tale 4. Stella's Dance 5. Evensong
Recording on Bridge Records by Chien-Kwan Lin, saxophone solo, and string orchestra conducted by Brad Lubman. 20 minutes, KC
"Music of David Liptak (Eastman Philharmonia, Brad Lubman, Chien-Kwan Lin, et al.) Another Eastman professor, Liptak is more of a traditional composer. All the same, he writes some of the most luminous and arresting music around, as evidenced by the breathtaking account saxophonist Lin and conductor Lubman give of his Serenade." -John Pitcher, Staff music critic Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 12/30/05
Commissioned by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hanson Intstitute for American Music; premiered in 1997 by the RPO. 8 minutes, KC
"In Liptak's Northern Light, Bay revealed the beauties of a Stravinsky-esque ballet; transparent textures, incisive rhythms, shimmering lightness despite the large orchestra. Commissioned for the RPO's 75th year, the eight-minute overture ... forecast the evening's festive spirit and music-making." -Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1/31/98
"In between these two favorites was David Liptak's brand-new Northern Light. I liked this piece the first time around, even more the second. It is simply constructed and lucidly, sometimes luminously scored; propulsively rhythmic opening and closing sections recalling Stravinsky's Symphony in C surround a brief, mysterious slow section. Best of all is Northern Light's coda, in which the music briefly and simply dissolves: an effect perfectly timed by the composer and the players." -City Newspaper, Rochester, 10/7/98
Trumpet Concerto for solo trumpet and orchestra (1995)
Commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The premiere was given by Paul Merkelo, solo trumpet, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Peter Bay in 1996.
"The highlight of the program, which repeats tonight, was the world premiere of Rochester composer David Liptak's innovative and vibrant Trumpet Concerto. ... The first of three movements intersperses solo trumpet cadenzas with orchestral passages, which trade dissonant harmonies in imitative counterpoint between sections of the orchestra. ... In the second movement, dedicated to the late RPO cellist Lynn Kahle Richmond, Liptak demonstrates and inventive compositional style by using lyrical orchestration to alternately introduce and support the solo themes. The cello section brings in the movement with a mysterious passage that leads to an upper-register solo, which Merkelo seemed to achieve effortlessly. Liptak uses dramatic and emotional contrasts, mixing lyricism with growling articulation in the solo passages while maintaining a lyrical undercurrent in the orchestral parts. The lyricism evolves to a fugue that weaves an intricate harmonic tapestry and culminates in rumbling comments from the bassoon, which has the last word here. Merkelo (soloist Paul Merkelo) sped into the final Presto movement, wowing the audience with his impeccable, swift articulation. In this movement, Liptak creates an urgent, restless excitement by combining timpani with horns, using two ratchets in opposing polyrhythms and setting up fresh harmonic relationships between solo trumpet and violas in contrary motion. This delightful and imaginative piece becomes compelling as the drama mounts and accelerates to a close." -Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 4/20/96
The Sacred Harp for wind ensemble (1994) Commissioned in celebration of the inauguration of Thomas Jackson as President of the University of Rochester. Recorded by the Tokyl Kosei Wind Orchestra, Donald Hunsberger, conductor, and distributed by the Kosei Publishing Company